The word RISE has many meanings:
To GET UP from sleep To MOVE upward To BECOME heartened or elated To GROW in intensity To EXPAND in quantity To EXERT ONESELF to meet a challenge To TAKE PLACE… to COME INTO BEING
At Near West Theatre our community rises up every day and renews our sense of hope. You can see it on stage and you can hear it in the testimonies shared by cast, crew, and audience members.
“I learned a lot, both about the theatre and myself. I know I can step up to a challenge and succeed and that I can always rely on someone to help me out.” – Cast Member from The King & I - 2003
“I truly feel that I have grown as a person and as an actress more than ever. I know Near West Theatre has allowed me to do that, and your encouraging words have always lifted me up in times of doubt. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!” – Cast Member from Anyone Can Whistle – 2004
“I’ve stretched to discover myself embraced, empowered, uplifted, loved. I find myself liberated to sit silent and still, connected only by eye contact that nonetheless makes love palpable. I am better to and for everything else in my life because here I know this extraordinary, exquisite, enlivening love.” – Parent of a cast member from Godspell – 2005
“I honestly do not know where I would be theatrically or emotionally without this place. It’s not just a space for the arts, it’s a home away from home, a support group, a place to discover, create, grow, laugh, love, cry, hurt, enjoy, and live.” – Cast Member from Beauty and the Beast – 2007
“Near West Theatre is a whole new experience of a different world. They don’t discriminate against color of the skin, nationality, religion or beliefs. They support.” – Cast Member from Finian’s Rainbow – 2008
“This has been an unbelievably positive, uplifting, experience for me. I am humbled and I am blessed.” – Cast Member from The Wiz – 2009
“During the process I felt confused, alienated, angry, resentful, determined, and then empowered. I learned to show up no matter what. And that’s what life is about. I’m glad I was able to learn it in a safe place because now I’m taking over the world.” – Cast Member from Once On This Island – 2009
“Near West Theatre is my family, no matter what anyone says. They have watched me grow and supported me through, well, basically life! I don’t know how I would have made my personal life journey through the woods if it weren’t for Near West Theatre.” – Cast Member from Into the Woods – 2011
“This place has allowed me to grow up and face the world. It has given me strength and courage to accept my talent, and has allowed me to touch the lives of others. I am walking away with a better understanding, a better self-image and love that could never be described with words.” – Cast Member from Ragtime – 2012
“I feel like I truly learned what Near West Theatre is truly about. Coming out of my toughest year of college yet, I was sad and felt as if my life was frozen in time, but this show and the people involved, truly lifted me up.” – Cast Member from Side Show – 2013
“I believe Near West has shaped who I am… The theatre simply glows with smiling faces and support. What kept me here was the palpable energy that exists in this space. The uplifting, positive, communal, welcoming and exciting energy - loving energy - that exists here is why I keep coming back to this space. It’s the reason I’m here today.” – Crew Member from Move On! – 2014
“I have come to find a vibration and connectivity at Near West Theatre that has lifted me up and blown me away... I feel so much support and encouragement from my tribe here that I’m rising up on my way to a freedom and happiness each day I spend here that is truly remarkable, and I owe it all to the folks here and this journey. This Near West Theatre experience could not have come at a time when I needed it more, and could not have been cast and supported more perfectly.” – Cast Member from Hair – 2015
“Near West Theatre has the most creative supporting environment I’ve ever seen from a theatre! Everyone involved in production really pushes and helps you do your best while having fun the whole time. Every time I’ve done something at Near West theatre I’ve been able to learn wonderful new things, not only about my vocal, dancing, and acting but myself as a person too.” – Cast Member from Godspell – 2016
“I have been challenged beyond belief but I have a beautiful cast of people behind me that will lift me up in all that I do. I can’t wait to return to Near West Theatre and all the truth, power, and knowledge it holds.” – Cast Member from Assassins – 2016
“Near West Theatre isn’t just a place where actors act. It’s a place where actors build loving and supporting relationships. Near West Theatre isn’t a community, it’s a family. Near West Theatre isn’t a building, it’s a home.” – Cast Member from Urinetown – 2016
“As an actor, there was a sense of purpose and empowerment performing for the sensory audience. Art empowers, and providing a special connection with spectrum audiences can only help all of us grow together in a common purpose.” – Cast Member from Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – 2017
Help us continue to get up, return, move, become, grow, expand and come into being. Help us continue to RISE at Near West Theatre.
Please join us in furthering our mission to create loving relationships that combat ignorance, racism, privilege, and all that divides us. Let us stand together, celebrate our differences, and help Near West Theatre stay healthy, alive, and resilient for years to come.
RISE! Near West Theatre’s Annual Benefit is Saturday, March 4, 2017 from 6:30-11:00pm. Featuring a powerful performance by a large Intergenerational Cast of Near West Theatre Performers!
Featuring: Hearty hor d’Oeuvres & Libations, Silent Auction, Fund-a-Need Auction, Wine Pull, Photobooth, and a fun-filled, spirit lifting Dance Party with a 9-piece band The Chozen Few!
For tickets to our Annual Benefit call our Box Office at 216-961-6391, open Monday-Friday from 11am-4pm or click HERE.